Were you just rear-ended by a careless driver? You may be dealing with several struggles:

  • How long will it be until I can return to work?
  • Who will pay for my hospital bills?
  • How can I hold a negligent driver liable?
  • What type of compensation could I recover?

Our experienced personal injury attorneys have experience assisting victims with these and other concerns.

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A rear-end collision is the most common type of car accident. According to the NHTSA, rear-end collisions account for roughly 40% of US car crashes. Chances are, you or someone you know will at least be involved in a fender bender at some point in your lifetime.

Common Causes

In a rear-end collision, one driver is struck from behind by another who was unable to stop in time. The second driver may have been unable to stop for any number of reasons. In the majority of these cases, that second driver is at-fault for causing the accident. Some examples include:

Distracted Drivingrazr texting driving

The trailing driver may be unable to stop in time as a result of some form of distracted driving. It only takes a few seconds of distraction in order to disrupt reaction time enough to cause an accident.

For example, a driver looking at their phone may look up and realize they need to stop but hit the brakes too late - colliding with the vehicle in front of him or her.

Additional examples of distracted driving include grooming, eating and drinking, or turning around to talk with passengers.


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Overly aggressive drivers often create dangerous driving conditions for the motorists around them. An impatient driver who is following another car too closely heightens the risk of a rear-end collision. If the leading driver is forced to slow down suddenly, the following driver may crash into the back of the leading vehicle.

Adverse Road Conditions

Icy or snow-covered roads may cause a rear-end collision. A slick road may affect a vehicle’s ability to stop on time, causing it to slide over the ice and collide with another vehicle from behind. To reduce the risk of such an incident, drivers should increase their following distance when driving in adverse weather or road conditions.


If the following driver accelerates too quickly, he may end up too close to the vehicle in front of him without adequate time to stop. These incidents are common at intersections and traffic lights. Another scenario may involve a driver switching lanes abruptly at a high speed which causes him to rear-end another vehicle.

Who Is Liable In A Rear-End Collision?

In the majority of cases, the trailing driver is at-fault in a rear-end collision. There are some exceptions. For example, if the leading driver changes lanes without properly signaling and then comes to an abrupt stop, he or she may be found liable for causing the accident. Or if a pedestrian jaywalks and forces the leading car to stop suddenly, the pedestrian could face a lawsuit for causing the trailing car to rear-end the leading one.

If you were the leading vehicle in a rear-end collision and driving safely, the odds are that the other driver was at-fault for the accident. Nearly every exception to this rule involves the leading driver breaking one or more rules of the road.

Common Injuries

While rear-end collisions are much less deadly than head-on ones or sideswipes, they can still leave victims with serious and chronic injuries.

Whiplashwhite car brake light

Whiplash is a very common injury incurred during rear-end collisions, especially low-speed, low-impact ones. Symptoms may have a delayed onset, and victims may only begin suffering from whiplash days, weeks, or even months after the accident.

These symptoms are often chronic and nagging, and include spinal soreness and stiffness in the neck and back, headaches, and dizziness. These symptoms may persist anywhere from a few days to a few months.

Broken Bones

Rear-end collisions often cause sudden and violent body movements during the crash. These may lead to broken bones in the face, hands, feet, spine, and ribs. Damage to teeth is also common in these types of accidents.

Traumatic Brain Injuries

These abrupt movements often lead to serious brain injuries. If the head suddenly jerks forward, it may strike the driver’s wheel, window, or an airbag if deployed. Loose objects in the car could also strike the driver in the head during the moment of impact.

Symptoms of a brain injury may have a delayed onset. Examples include chronic dizziness, slurred speech, and impaired movement and memory. Traumatic brain injuries require a long recovery time, and many of them become chronic or permanent problems.


Recovering from a rear-end collision is often a grueling process. Victims of these crashes are often left with persistent and nagging injuries which may affect them for months, years, or even for the rest of their lives.

While health insurance may help to cover some of the initial expenses, many victims require continued treatment which their policy caps can’t cover. Additionally, lost wages or employment opportunities may create further financial stress. In extreme cases, a fatal rear-end collision may leave a family without a loved one and their financial assistance. In such cases, civil recourse may be a pertinent way to cover remaining expenses.

common causes of rear-end accidents

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